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Le Magus by Ori Kaplan Shaat'nez Band

The music of the Middle East - of both Arabic and Jewish origins - and jazz have made for some enjoyable amalgams. Yusef Lateef, John Coltrane, Oregon, Herbie Mann and even Duke Ellington (hear Far East Suite!) and Mickey Katz have all contributed some sterling examples of such. Add to this list Israel-born, NYC-based alto/bari saxophonist Ori Kaplan, whose Shaat’naz Band (a tribute to the actor William?) combines avant/free-accented post bop with traditional, modally-based Middle Eastern rhythms and Jewish/Hebraic melodies. Kaplan plays a piquant, searing alto and a DEEP, rollicking baritone, and his compositions have much of the irreverent swagger and ebullience of Charles Mingus without being at all derivative of his style. While there’s joyous skronk and percussive piano a-plenty, the pieces here are accessibly structured and his ensemble puts ‘em across with pointed lyricism and rhythmic whoop. Though Le Magus is a little "out" for your dinnertime at your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant, it’s wild, immediate and creative music that few need be a’feared of.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Ori Kaplan Shaat'nez Band
  • CD Title: Le Magus
  • Genre: Folk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Knitting Factory Records
  • Musicians: O.K.: alto & baritone saxes; Tamir Muskat: drums, percussion; Geoff Mann: drums, percussion, mandolin, cornet; Andrew Bemkey: piano, keyboards, accordion, bass clarinet; Adam Roberts: bass; others.
  • Rating: Three Stars
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